What We ThoughtGenre: Action, Drama
What We Liked :Exceedingly Stylistic, Incredible Acting, Iconic Soundtrack
What We Disliked:Might be deemed excessively gory
Cold, calculating, cool, Drive gives an adrenaline shot to the movies I haven’t felt in a long time.
“…And a real hero and a human being”
Drive. It’s what sets humans apart from one another. It is also describes the main character in Nicolas Winding Refn’s new film, Drive.
Driver (Ryan Gosling) has no goals or connections in his life. Being used for one purpose, a master at getaway’s, Driver lives a life of shadow and complete singularity. There is a precision to the way Driver completes his tasks that puts him far above others. One second your life may depend on him, the next he doesn’t remember your name. That is until the day he meets a young woman named Irene (Carey Mulligan). His short time together with Irene would be the happiest days of his life, but unfortunately it doesn’t last.
Irene’s husband,Standard (Oscar Isaac), is being released from prison and doesn’t take too kindly to how close Driver has come to his family. He quickly changes his mind when becomes clear he will need Driver’s help to protect his family. Driver agrees to help based on his love for Irene and her young son unaware of the danger he is entering.
The beginning of Drive might confuse you into believing what is coming in later in film. The second half blew all expectations away. Christopher Orr of The Atlantic puts it best, “The first half has a bit of the moody, music-video feel of Hong Kong’s Wong Kar-Wai; the latter half, the shocking, visceral ferocity of Korea’s Park Chan-Wook.” Considering my love for both directors work, I was captivated during the mellow, music-video approach from the beginning and mortified by what was after.
In fact, that might be the most polarizing facet of Drive. While the beginning might be considered boring to some and captivating to others, the opposite could be said for the rest of the film. From humble beginnings, Drive revs its engine holding nothing back. Those who are uncomfortable with extreme violence (Oldboy, History of Violence), I caution your entry into Drive. This is no holds bar action and at times I wonder how it avoided being edited.
Drive has an incredible array of talent associated with it. Carey Mulligan proves fine here, when considering the last time I saw her (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) she was lacking. The other standouts include, Bryan Cranston who plays Shannon, a father figure to Driver and Albert Brooks who commands the screen as criminal mastermind, Bernie Rose. At the heart of it all is Ryan Gosling as Driver. While this isn’t a role outside of his typical depressed and harrowing youth, Gosling becomes the action star he was born to become. The hope is that his lengthy filmography this year will give him similarly captivating roles in the future.
The music in Drive should be considered essential to the experience. Since some of the early moments in the film play like music-videos the soundtrack is quintessential to the success of those sequences. The score composed by Cliff Martinez helps the 80’s vibe the film aspires towards.
Drive is one of my favorite films of the year. This could be described as an art-house action film, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts. While some will be turned off by the excessive violence, it shows how far Driver was willing to go to protect the ones he loved. Cold, calculating, cool, Drive gives an adrenaline shot to the movies I haven’t felt in a long time.